When Aracely Eres came to the United States from her home of Mexico City in 1995, she knew only a few words of English. Her husband convinced her to earn the English as a Second Language (ESL) certification at Fremont Adult Education Center. “I was pregnant with our first child, and my husband would drop me off before he drove to work,” recalls Aracely. It took her four years, but she completed her goal of becoming fluent in English—and this lifelong learner quickly set another one. In 2001, Aracely prepared for and passed the General Education Development high school equivalency test. She also became a U.S. citizen.
Life’s next opportunity
Aracely’s teachers at Fremont Adult Education Center encouraged her to continue her education. “I never really had a goal to become a nurse, but I follow the opportunities that come to me,” she says. She started the one-year Registered Nurse program at Sutter Health, but had to step away when she became pregnant with her third child. Eventually, Aracely finished her ADN at Sacramento City College in 2009. At the same time, her husband, who manages the Volunteer Services and Interpreting and Translation Departments at the University of California Davis Medical Center, encouraged her to take the Spanish/English interpreter proficiency exam.
A foot in the door at Mercy Medical Center
Armed with her RN and Spanish/English translation certification, Aracely started to volunteer in 2009 at UC Davis Medical’s Women’s Pavilion as an interpreter. She also got a job at Mercy Medical Center, which offers a range of healthcare services for women—from pregnancy testing to childbirth education to community education. Despite the long commute to Merced, she was very happy with her position. “I worked in the postpartum area and absolutely loved it,” says Aracely, whose mother helped care for her three boys on the days she worked. “I worked the night shift at Mercy and volunteered at UC Davis on my days off to gain experience.”
When a nursing position opened up in labor and delivery at UC Davis Medical, Aracely wasted no time applying—and she was hired in 2011. She works primarily with the hospital’s Spanish-speaking clientele. “I love working in this area, because I feel like I’m making a difference during a very exciting, often very stressful and painful time in a woman’s life,” she says.
Earning the BSN
As a teaching hospital, UC Davis requires all nurses to hold at least a BSN, so two years after starting her job, Aracely began her research on programs. “A friend of mine at work was an American Sentinel student and had a really good experience,” she says. Aracely concluded that the BSN program had all of the elements she was looking for as well—affordability and student support among the most important. She took her first class in 2013 and after having such a positive experience while continuing to work full time, she decided to continue on for the MSN after completing the BSN in 2015. Evidently a positive influence, Aracely’s two oldest sons are also in college at California State University, Sacramento.
Sights set on leadership
To ensure she has the skills and knowledge to secure management opportunities in the future, Aracely chose the nursing management and organizational leadership specialization for her MSN. “I believe that the more education you have, the more power you have to drive your own career,” she says, adding that she hopes one day to become a Nurse Practitioner. “If I want to make an impact, I need to position myself within my organization to do so. I know that my education will help me get there.”
Inspired by Aracely’s story? An MSN program can be your passport to a specialty nursing field, like nursing education, informatics, nursing management and organizational leadership, or infection control. Specialized knowledge forms the foundation of these nursing fields. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Read the other student success stories for more inspiration.